Suspended sentence handed down at Longford District Court for stealing food and clothes

Judge says defendant 'misled' him

Aisling Kiernan


Aisling Kiernan


A woman who appeared at Longford District Court charged under the Theft & Fraud Offences Act found herself close to serving time after the presiding judge convicted her in respect of the matters before him.

Mary Ann Nevin McDonagh (31), Lavender Cottage, Farnagh Hill, Longford appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with stealing a jacket worth €39 from Heatons, Ballymahon Street, Longford on April 11 last.

She was also further charged with stealing groceries to the value of €41.50 from Aldi, Longford on April 13, 2018.

Outlining the evidence to the court, Sergeant Paddy McGirl said that on April 13 last, the defendant entered the Aldi Store on the outskirts of Longford town where she placed over €40 worth of groceries in a bag and proceeded then to leave the store without paying for the items.

“She was later apprehended by the Gardaí and made admissions,” added the Sergeant, before pointing out to the court that all the items taken in the incident were subsequently recovered.

Stole a Jacket 

The court then went on to hear that on April 11 last, the defendant entered Heatons Department Store in Longford town, took a jacket from a hanger and left the store without paying for it.

“The jacket was never recovered,” added Sargeant McGirl, who then pointed out that the defendant had 20 previous convictions, most of which were for theft.


In mitigation, the defendant’s solicitor John Quinn said that to date the court had been “very indulgent” towards his client.

He added; “She is a widow living on low income and finds it difficult sometimes”.

Meanwhile, the local solicitor went on to say that Ms Nevin McDonagh was on medication for depression and “honestly” couldn’t remember going into the stores in the first instance.

During his deliberations on the matter before him, Judge Hughes pointed out to Mr Quinn that “half the world is on medication” and, therefore, if his client couldn’t remember being in the shops, the fault lay with the medication the defendant was on.

“The medication is having a negative effect on her,” suggested Judge Hughes, before pointing out that when people were at their worst with depression, they most likely “took to the bed” and did not go around stealing from local shops.

“No, Ms Nevin McDonagh though, sets off into Aldi and steals all around her.”

The Judge then addressed the defendant and said he would send her to prison for her actions.

“The last time you were in this court Ms Nevin McDonagh you told me that you would never steal again - you misled me.”

'Under Pressure' 

Meanwhile, the defendant told the Judge she was under pressure to pay her rent and if that wasn’t forthcoming both she and her three children would be “out of that house”.

“You have a propensity to do crime,” continued Judge Hughes.

“I have given you every opportunity; you promised me that you would not commit any further offence and now look!”.

Judge Hughes subsequently imposed a three month prison sentence but suspended it for two years before concluding the matter before him.